California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Used Motor Oil

Recycle Your Used Oil Filters

If you change your own motor oil, you’re changing your oil filter at the same time. Take the last step and recycle the oil filter along with the used oil. Here’s more information on why oil filter recycling is important, and where you can take your oil filters.

Why recycle oil filters?

  • Used Oil filters contain 10 ounces of used oil and therefore a hazardous waste and must be properly recycled - not thrown in the trash.
  • Oil filters contain used oil and steel, both are valuable nonrenewable resources.
  • Oil filter recycling is good for the environment and easy to do.

Each year California generates 67 million used automotive filters per year. The filters are considered hazardous waste and are banned from landfills, however, they are also completely recyclable. Each filter has about a pound of re-usable steel. All the filters sold annually in California can be recycled into 67 million pounds of steel, enough to build three large sports stadiums.

In addition to recycling steel, it’s important to recycle oil filters because each oil filter has on average, more than 10 fluid ounces of used motor oil, even after draining! All of this trapped motor oil adds up to more than two million gallons of used oil going into the environment, the water system or into landfills in California each year from filters that aren’t properly recycled. Oil recovered from the recycled filters is made back into motor oil, closing the loop.

How to recycle filters...

Many used oil collection centers are willing to accept oil filters from the public. Call ahead to find out if filters are accepted.

Some communities also offer curbside filter collection. The used oil filters are generally placed in a sealed plastic bag by the homeowner before being set on the curb for pickup.

You can also check to see if your community has a local household hazardous waste (HHW) collection center or host collection events where oil filters are accepted. Check our list of local HHW websites or try the government pages of your phone book.

Last updated: March 14, 2007
Used Oil Recycling Program, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/UsedOil/
Contact: UsedOilHHW@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6457